Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

11-26-2023Letter from the PastorFr. Don Kline, V.F.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Catholic writer Sara Park McLaughlin wrote that, “Sometimes we treat God more like a celestial Santa Claus than an omniscient, omnipotent, loving Father who knows more about us and our needs than we do. Or perhaps we treat God like the ultimate fire fighter-someone we only call when there is a big emergency and usually as a last resort.”

Understanding that God is not a vending machine whereby we put in our prayers like coins and then we collect our “answered prayers” as they cascade out the bottom can be difficult for some to understand. Disciples of Our Lord Jesus know that we cannot manipulate or bribe God into giving us what we think we want or need at any given moment. Yes, God answers all our prayers. Sometimes, we just don’t like the way He answers them or what we want is not in our best interest.

My brother priest told me about a parishioner of his. This parishioner was a talented, aspiring medical student who applied to over 20 medical schools. His GPA was nearly perfect and his MCAT scores were also above average. Frustrated one day, he complained that he thought after all his hard work, he expected to be accepted to every school to which he applied. My priest friend countered that God saved him and his future patients from an arrogant doctor by NOT receiving acceptances from all these schools!

So, what happens when we pray to Christ, the King of the Universe? Prayer is a conversation with the Lord that sustains our relationship. Pray fuels our relationship with God. If you fail to talk to someone you love, if communication ceases, then the relationship withers. Jesus taught us to pray. When Our Lord gave us the Our Father, He taught us to pray that God’s will be done. And we also are given the prerequisites for asking God for things like repentance and forgiving others.

Some point to John 14 and are confused by Jesus’ own words when he says, “Whatever you ask in my Name, that I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my Name, I will do it.” Obviously, we all cannot ask and win the lottery, for example, so what does Jesus mean? Our Lord means what He says, but there is also the presumption that we are in a right relationship with God and attuned and open to His will. Many of us can testify that God’s will is often greater than our desires. God can and does give you and I more than we need and beyond our expectations if we are willing and able to see that Jesus Christ is the King of the Universe AND King of your heart, your desires, your hope, your fears.

Put simply, a benevolent Father doesn’t give children what they want—whether it is at a soccer game or restored health after a bad diagnosis at the hospital. We don’t like being told no, especially by God. Today is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. The Most Benevolent and Generous King gives us what we need to be with Him in this life and in the next. I pray that we all are open to God’s divine will trusting that Our Lord and King gives us all we need to serve Him as we serve those most in need of His love and mercy.

God Bless,

Fr. Don Kline, V.F.